With the introduction of the iTunes software package, individuals suddenly gained access not only to an extremely helpful tool for organizing and obtaining music, but also an immensely powerful audio converter. Using the built-in functions included with iTunes, it is possible to quickly convert audio between a variety of formats, ranging from popular compressed variants such as MP3 to high quality, uncompressed audio in WAV or AIFF formats. Depending on your specific needs, you may find that iTunes can assist with virtually all of your audio conversion tasks. Converting an M4A to WAV file can actually be accomplished in a matter of minutes.
Exploring Audio Conversion
As audio technology continues to evolve, a growing number of file formats are available for users wishing to create, share and store music. Generally speaking, these formats are divided into two broad categories: compressed and uncompressed audio files. Compressed audio is typically smaller with regards to file size.
Some of the more popular compressed audio file formats in use to day include MP3, AAC and M4A. These file formats are also referred to as "lossy," meaning that the audio the individual hears when opening the file is an inexact representation of the original source content rather than an identical match. This is due to the fact that lossy compression reduces file sizes by approximating elements of the original file rather than using the memory needed to make an identical copy of the file. With this reduction in memory needs, however, often comes a significant decrease in general audio quality.
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Unlike compressed audio, uncompressed formats such as WAV and AIFF are referred to a "lossless" audio, meaning that the finished product which is heard by the listener is truly an identical representation of the file. No replications or approximations such as those used with the lossy file format will be found in lossless audio.
Evaluating Limitations of Conversion
It is important to note that specific rules and limitations exist with regards to how audio can be converted between lossless and lossy formats. For example, although it is entirely possible to compress a lossless file and transform it into a lossy audio file, the reverse is not nearly as effective.
Although it is true that a lossy audio file can be converted into a lossless file, the full integrity of the original recording pre-compression cannot be restored due to the fact that the lossy file has already approximated elements of the original audio file which cannot be returned. Therefore, a lossless audio file created from a lossy file will simple be the most accurate representation of the lossy file rather than a "restored" file. So an MP3 converter that turns MP3s into WAVs won't produce quality equivalent to an uncompressed WAV file.
Understanding these constraints of audio conversion will help ensure that individuals have a realistic understanding of what is possible when they begin converting audio inside of iTunes.
M4A to WAV Conversion in iTunes
To complete an M4A to WAV conversions in iTunes, you must first open the 'Preferences' menu. Once this menu has been opened, select the 'General' tab and then click the 'Import Settings' button. From here, you can select the specific type of file format you would like your iTunes files to be converted into. Click the expandable menu found next to the 'Import Using' button in order to browse available file types. WAV will be available as an option in this menu. Now, any M4A file you load into iTunes will automatically be converted into a WAV file.